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Behind the Scenes: Time to Play Trivia!

By Linda Dove

For Dick Fishburn, it’s working with an interesting and democratic team, always learning something new. Elaine Johnston especially appreciates time spent with longtime teammates, but also getting to know new neighbors. An avid reader, Judy Clark enjoys puzzling out an answer from a book or play she remembers reading. And there is Angie Zervos, one of the original start-up players, who sums it up: “It’s fun.”

The shared experience? Bishop Gadsden’s weekly Trivia games. Something for everyone. A friendly, stimulating—and very popular -community event.

Time to go ‘behind the scenes’ for fun and games at Bishop Gadsden.

Now in its fifth year at BG, Trivia has its time and place. Every Monday beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Blackmer Hall. Eleven teams – so far – but continuing to grow. Cute team names. Think ‘The Wineos’, ‘Daring Dunces’, ‘Not A Clue’. Added attraction: a friendly open bar.

How did Trivia find its way to BG? Always searching for new activities, in 2019 Event Coordinator Britt Lock heard about TEAM TRIVIA. “It has been a great match,” says Britt. The company has facilities in 13 states and coordinates various large group games at more than 30 Lowcountry venues each week. The company recently won the Best Entertainment Product at the 2024 Bar and Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas.

BG’s Trivia master? Meet Lisa Nunn, the patient, cheerful, and unflappable coordinator of Monday Trivia. She arrives each week with her supply of pens, answer pads, record sheets, and her special computer program which allows her to quickly compute team scores. “I have really enjoyed getting to know the players and staff at Bishop Gadsden,” she says.

Coordinating Trivia is not her only job. Lisa spends her days as a Program Manager in the Addiction Research Office at MUSC. And she ventures out several other nights a week to host Trivia and Bingo games at two local restaurants. How do the BG game enthusiasts compare with her other groups -- “No, question, the players here are smart!”, she reports.

TEAM TRIVIA provides Lisa with 24 questions each Monday. “We only use 18 of them each week,” she says. “That allows me to make some selections that may be especially appropriate to such well-educated and well-traveled players.” The subjects that seem most difficult for BG teams – Pop Music and Culture. “Everyone thinks Sports is the most difficult category, but the teams know Sports facts.”

“The biggest change, and best decision we made, has been to provide players with the written questions on the screen,” says Lisa. “It has definitely made the game more accessible, faster, and more fun.”

The important question, of course – Where do the questions come from?

“We don’t do any of the writing here,” says Lisa. A group of professional question writers, coordinated out of Atlanta, identify the topics and compose the questions. Many have been part of the group for years. They maintain a detailed database to be sure that questions are not being used more than once.

The best Trivia questions? The writing teams have found that the ideal question is 15-30 words long although final questions in each round are usually longer. The writers aim for a variety of subject areas in each set of questions, and often include specific dates and time ranges to help narrow the possible answers. Each round usually highlights several questions that are timely, seasonal, or point to some current event. Hint: keep an eye on the Olympics. And, as BG players have learned, the questions get harder during each round.